Ozone is a variation of oxygen. It is basically three oxygen molecules stuck together by covalent bonds. This molecule is an allotrope and breaks down in the atmosphere, except in the highest atmosphere, where there is a thin layer of the chemical. This chemical is a gas and does not liquify ever, under temperatures of -112 C. The gas is somewhat soluble in water, and has a sharp smell and is pale bluish in color.
But enough of the chemistry lesson. Ozone is being incorporated into dentistry, and people are starting to experiment with the medical uses of this most ignoble gas.
Ozone has a positive effect on human periodontal cells, epithelial cells and with human gingiva. This means that spraying your gums with ozone can revitalize them and help the cells that are not doing so well. Seeing as ozone breaks down into oxygen, this gas can help your blood flow, which is essential in maintaining healthy gums and periodontal tissue.
Applying ozone to the mouth before applying sealants and fillings also had a positive effect on the outcome of the fillings and a more positive reaction to them. Ozone is also a good prophylactic measure.
Ozone has known antimicrobial properties, and as such, with enough research, can one day be just as sought after in killing cavity forming and periodontitis enabling microbes as antibiotics are today. Ozone has been proven effective in removing microbes form dentures, water lines, the oral cavity and the surface of teeth without damaging the enamel.
But all of these applications exist only in trials right now, and the real clinical trials are just underway. What we do know, and what ozone is being used for on a regular basis is none other than the management of caries and root caries. So far, this is the only clinically approved use of ozone. Cleaning out the caries or the roots of teeth with ozone is very helpful because it kills bacteria, and leaves the mouth completely clean. This is very helpful in root canals, as it is difficult to get to the narrow canals and clean everything out with a hard object, but a gas can get anywhere and everywhere.
We can expect wider applications for ozone in the future, and it may become a part of the everyday repertoire of dentists worldwide. Let’s hope and see.
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